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If you’re really up for the 30-day self-care challenge, here’s what I want you to do. Do the challenge and give me feedback on your progress every week. Just bookmark this article for easy reference.
This challenge aims to familiarize you with some important self-care routines that you can practice regularly. After completing this challenge, you will be in a position to assess which ones work for you and which of them you would like to incorporate into your daily life.
These self-care routines have me carefully researched by me and created specifically for soothing stress and anxiety. I’m sure you will feel a lot more relaxed after you complete this challenge.
Day #1: Start by Waking Up Early in the Morning
Ok, I can see some of you giving me the that cringy look and your so obvious “What the @#$%”. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Here’s what you do. Just wake up 20 minutes earlier than your regular waking up time.
For example, if you are used to getting up at 8:00 am every day, set your clock alarm to 7:40 am.
Please note that in order for you to wake up 20 minutes earlier, you also have to sleep 20 minutes early than the usual. Don’t compromise on your sleep time.
Tip # – Avoid watch any screen (tv, laptop, smartphones, pads, etc.) for at least half hour before you sleep.
Day #2: 5 Minutes Morning Meditation
Now here’s the deal. You don’t have to sit in complicated yoga postures to do this. Just sit on a chair or your bed (don’t do this lying down), setup a 5 minutes timer and clock yourself, close your eyes and sit in silence.
You don’t have focus or concentrate on anything. Just watch whatever comes in your mind. And if you feel sleepy or distracted during meditation … that’s OK. Don’t try to stop your thoughts or force anything. Just be comfortable, close your eyes and relax.
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Tip # – Do this just immediately after waking up in the morning. Morning times are peaceful, your body and mind are well rested, and there’s less disturbance.
Day #3: Take a Walk Outside Your House for 10 Minutes or so
It’s important to connect with nature every now and then. Go to nearby park for a quick walk anytime of the day whenever you get the opportunity. I like to take short walks after my meals.
The more close we are to the nature, the more happier we will be. Colors of nature gives us a feeling of warmth and natural relaxation. You might feel an initial resistance or inertia while you do this, but once you get overcome than inertia, you’ll be amazed how rejuvenating this experience is.
Day 4#: Get Rid of Some of the Cutter In Your House
Every item that you possess requires maintenance in some form or the other. Even if it’s a small piece of wood, it occupies space that needs to be cleaned.
Now don’t attempt to clear out all of the clutter in one go. That can be very overwhelming. Just start with a small space like a closet or a cupboard drawer, or just your workstation.
Pick up five items out of that small space and ask yourself if you really need them. Get rid of the stuff that you haven’t been using for a while now. If you haven’t use it in the last six months, it’s most probably just junk that you don’t need anymore.
Day 5#: Take a Social Media Detox
Don’t worry about your followers. There aren’t going to mind you taking a break … ;). Don’t even announce talking break for that day. If you do that, you’ll be tempted to check on what people are saying or how many likes you got.
Let the pressure of socializing online be off your mind today. Turn off all notifications for today so that you’re not tempted. By detox what I mean is that you don’t check your feeds at all. Just don’t open those social media apps.
Day 6#: Watch An Episode of Your Favorite Sitcom Today
This one is going to be enjoyable and I assume that you already do this every day. Take out time from your busy schedule and watch your favorite sitcom. Personally, I like to watch FRIENDS on Netflix every now and then.
The only caution here is that if you’re watching something violent, avoid watching it late at night. That’s because those gory visuals retain their footprint on your mind and results in poor quality sleep.
Day 7#: Spend Some Time Alone
Sometimes it’s important to take a break from the usual routine and spend some time alone with yourself. The way I do it is – I go to a nearby cafe, order a soothing beverage, and read a book, or simply reflect on my thoughts.
Day 8#: Change Your Meal Today
Here’s what you do today. Reduce your carbohydrates intake by 25% and increase your protein by the same amount. In addition, just include a handful of salad along with some protein in order to get the required fiber.
By reducing carbs and increasing protein, you will feel more energetic throughout the day. This will also help you relieve anxiety. Eating more carbs gives us that crash we experience in the afternoon.
Day 9#: Cook Something Today
Cook a dish today at home. Anything you like but it should be simple. For example, I like to make for myself a simple savory item on weekends – it’s called ‘Kada Parshad’. It’s an Indian savory that is made out of whole wheat flour, clarified butter, almonds, and jaggery.
Jaggery and clarified butter are very healthy, and unlike refined sugar, they do not cause blood sugar spikes (when consumed in moderation). If you’re interested in the recipe, let me know in the comments.
Day 10#: Negativity Detox: Don’t Gossip or Criticisms Today
Don’t engage in any kind of gossip or criticism today. When we engage in negativity most of it rubs back into us. You might want to avoid people who constantly criticize others just for the sake of conversation.
Engaging in negativity is like bathing in a pool of filth. The more you try to clean yourself, the dirtier you get.
Day 11#: Talk to Someone Positive Today
Look for positive people around you and try to strike a conversation with them. Sometimes we disregard and dismiss introverts thinking they are arrogant, but it’s just that some introverts (like me) don’t like spending their energy with negative people, and disengage in ‘me myself’ talk.
And hence, they keep themselves a little distant. But once you get to know them a little, you will find so much that you didn’t know. Positive people are good listeners and they accept you for who you are. You’ll never feel uneasy with them.
If you’re interested, there’s an amazing online course that can help you overcome sensitivity-based fatigue, allergies, anxiety, depression, and more. Check out The Empath’s Survival Guide Course By Judith Orloff, MD.
Day 12#: Be a Good Listener Today
Today, focus more on listening than on speaking. In fact, speak as minimally as possible. Being a good listener actually makes you into a good communicator. Listening and paying attention is showing appreciation for other people’s time and energy.
But again, don’t waste your time in gossips and unproductive conversations. If you can’t find anyone, just listen to a good podcast.
Day 13#: Write Down Three Things That Stress You
One of the ways to be more self-aware is to know about your stressors. Once you know what’s causing you stress, you can figure out a way to do something about it.
For example, I get stressed when I’m given a deadline to complete a job. And the way I handle it is by breaking down the task into smaller subtasks and focusing only on one task at a time.
Day 14#: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Try Something New
Getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new helps in self-discovery and self-growth. A year back, I would’ve never imagined myself writing blogs, but here I am. You don’t know what potential you have unless and until you try out new things.
You can try anything like writing, painting, sketching, singing, dancing, going on a road trip, lifting weights, or any other thing you have in mind.
Day 15#: Practice Deep Breathing (Very Relaxing)
Sit on a chair with your back straight, take a deep inhalation, hold for about 5 seconds, and then exhale from the mouth. Do it slowly and gently. And while you do this imagine all the tension melting away in your shoulders and neck. Just relax and do ten repetitions.
Day 16#: No ‘Sugar’ Day
Stay away from refined sugar today. Instead, go for seeds, nuts, and fresh fruits. Know that there’s concealed sugar in many items you buy from the market. That includes, sodas, cookies, sauces, and many more. Be sure to check out sugar content in the ingredients list before you buy.
Day 17#: Give a ‘HUG’ to a Loved One
Your heart is the seat of emotions and it’s important to express them. Sometimes an action means a lot more than words. Simple act of hugging a loved one allows you to exchange positive energy of the heart.
It can be anyone; your family member; or simply a friend. Don’t do this superficially just to complete the challenge. Allow and feel that love and warmth flowing within you when you give a hug.
Day 18#: Try Some Simple Yoga Stretches
Yoga is very much in news these days and for the right reasons. Performing simple stretching exercises like child’s pose, downward dog pose, cobra pose, easy pose, etc., can work wonders and greatly help in relieving stress and anxiety.
If you’re interested in learning Yoga from the comfort of your home, try out this 30-day free trial on Yoga International. They provide easy access to a wide variety of courses that are taught by world-class teachers, along with an active online community. You can learn at your own pace, wherever and whenever you like.
Day 19#: 20 Minute Workout
Do a 20-minute workout today. You can do cardio or high intensity workout depending on your present fitness level and flexibility. If this is beyond your capacity, just do a slow cardiovascular exercise like jogging. Cardio is very good for heart health and greatly improves the mood.
Day 20#: Drink Warm Water with Lemon
Start you day by drinking warm water mixed with lemon and a teaspoon of raw honey for taste. This helps in digestion, provides Vitamin C, improves skin, promotes weight loss, and reduces risk of heart disease.
Day 21#: Write 5 Things You feel Gratitude For
There are simple things in life that we take for granted. Writing down things that you feel gratitude for is a great way to develop love, compassion, and empathy. Just to give you an idea, here’s my shortlist of gratitude:
- I feel gratitude for having a lovely wife and kids.
- I feel gratitude towards the universe for giving me this life and enabling my soul to grow.
- I feel gratitude towards the sun for giving me warmth and light.
- I feel gratitude towards nature for loving and nourishing me.
- I feel gratitude for the privileges that I have to live a comfortable life.
Day 22#: Give Yourself a Treat (You’re Doing Awesome)
Once in a while all of us need to take a break from the mundane routine work and pamper ourselves. So let this small break be a part of challenge itself.
- Buy something nice for yourself.
- Watch a movie.
- Go out and eat at your favorite place.
- Go for massage or spa treatment.
Day 23#: Make a List of Things You Like About Yourself
We are always busy focusing on things we don’t like about ourselves and that leads us to feeling low. Today, let’s do the opposite. Let’s focus on what you like about yourself. No matter how silly it sounds just write it down.
Tip #: Write it on a small piece of paper and keep it handy with you all day. Whenever you get an opportunity just take a quick look at it.
Day 24#: Smartphone Detox Day
Ok … I can see that the cringe is back … ;). Hey, it’s just for a day. You can do it. Now here’s the deal. I just want you to switch off the WIFI (no internet) on your smartphone. Just ditch the ‘Smart’ part of the phone.
Tip #: keep your phone at a little distance from you. Also, don’t check messages. Attend only to very important calls and keep your conversation very brief.
Day 25#: Awaken the Child Within You
That child within you is the pure essence of who you really are. Never let that child die or else this life will be like a never ending unpleasant experience. Be like a child today. Do crazy stuff – do whatever you like. Don’t care about anything or anyone.
Day 26#: Practice 3 Affirmations Today
Affirmations are a great way to program our subconscious mind which has tremendous potential. I want you to write down three powerful affirmations of your choice. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in them right now. Just write them.
Repeat them both in the morning and at night before going to bed for 5 minutes each.
Tip #: While writing your affirmations replace “I will” with “I am”. For example, replace “I will be a happy person” with “I am a happy person”.
Day 27#: Watch the Sunset
Watching the sunset is an amazingly calming experience. The view is so beautiful that it makes you forget all your troubles of the day.
Day 28#: Donate Stuff That You Don’t Need
Take a look at some of the items that you haven’t been using for a while now and that you can get rid of. Give them to a homeless person or to someone in need. It can be anything from a home utility item to clothes.
Experience the joy of giving without expecting anything in return. It’s an amazing feeling that has no parallel.
Day 29#: Listen To Your Favorite Music or Podcasts
Listening to music has a very calming effect on us. In many cultures, sound therapy is used to clear out negative energy from the body. Make a playlist of your favorite songs and listen to music whenever you get an opportunity.
You can also listen to podcasts while doing routine work, going for a jog or run, or while commuting to and from work. Here’s a couple of my favorites:
- Anxiety Slayer with Shann and Ananga
- 100% Guilt-Free Self-Care
- The Dave Ramsey Show
- Money for the Rest of Us
Day 30#: Comfort Someone In Need
Reach out to someone you know and comfort them a little. Sometimes just comforting someone is enough rather than going out of the way to help them. Just have a causal conversation. Ask them how they’re doing and offer for help if possible.
Don’t attempt to be successful in all of the 30 day points. It’s not a competition. So it’s okay to miss out on a few. As I mentioned in the beginning, the idea is to familiarize yourself with basic self-care routines, and not to force yourself to complete the full challenge.
It’s a SUCCESS if you’re able to complete 50% (15 days) of this challenge.
You can use the comments section below to let me know how you’re feeling, what’s working, what’s not working, how’s your anxiety, do you feel any better, and more.
Feel free to discuss your doubts and queries, or talk about anything you like or dislike. I’ll keep you updated on my progress and I look forward to hearing from you.
- 8 Ways to Effectively Practice Mindful Self-Care
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